CHINA Town Hall connects leading China experts with Americans around the country for a national conversation on the implications of China’s rise on U.S.-China relations and its impact on our towns, states, and nation. The National Committee is proud to partner with a range of institutions and community groups, colleges and universities, trade and business associations, and world affairs councils to bring this important national conversation to local communities around America for the 17th consecutive year.
The 2023 CHINA Town Hall program took take place on Wednesday, October 11, at 7:00 p.m. EDT, with U.S. Ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns.
Nicholas Burns is U.S. Ambassador to China. Nominated by President Biden and confirmed by the Senate, he was sworn into office on December 22, 2021.
As Ambassador, he leads a team of experienced, dedicated, and diverse public servants from 47 U.S. government agencies and sub-agencies at the U.S. Mission in China, including at the Embassy in Beijing and at the American Consulates in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and Shenyang. He oversees the Mission’s interaction with the PRC on the full range of political, security, economic, commercial, consular, and many other issues that shape this critical relationship.
Ambassador Burns has had a distinguished career in American diplomacy, serving six U.S. Presidents and nine Secretaries of State over 27 years. His State Department roles have included Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the State Department’s third-ranking official and most senior career diplomat (2005-2008); U.S. Ambassador to NATO (2001-2005); U.S. Ambassador to Greece (1997-2001); and State Department spokesman (1995-1997). Before that, he worked at the National Security Council at the White House (1990-1995) where he served as Special Assistant to President Clinton and Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Affairs and as Director for Soviet Affairs for President George H.W. Bush during the collapse of the USSR.
Ambassador Burns’ engagement with China also spans decades. He first visited the PRC in 1988, accompanying Secretary of State George Shultz, and then again in 1989 with President George H.W. Bush. He made subsequent visits with Secretaries Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright, including during the handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the PRC in 1997. As Under Secretary of State, he worked with the PRC government on a diverse range of issues, including Afghanistan, North Korea, United Nations sanctions against Iran and U.S. policy in the Indo-Pacific. As a private citizen, he also created and managed an Aspen Strategy Group policy dialogue with the PRC government’s Central Party School.
Ambassador Burns has served on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations, and has received fifteen honorary degrees, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, and the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award.
A graduate of Boston College and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Ambassador Burns is currently on a public service leave from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government where he was the Goodman Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations and founded the school’s Future of Diplomacy Project.
Want to learn more about U.S.-China relations before CHINA Town Hall 2023?
The U.S.-China Essentials multimedia series joins leading experts to explore key aspects of the U.S.-China relationship, highlights key issues to watch, and illustrates the ways it affects the lives of every American.
Recent CHINA Town Hall Events
Former Ambassador to China, Russia, and Singapore Jon M. Huntsman Jr. was the featured speaker for the 16th annual CHINA Town Hall on October 26, 2022. He discussed the importance of the bilateral relationship from supply chains to national security and new technologies to climate change.
CNN host and best-selling author Fareed Zakaria was the featured speaker at the 15th annual CHINA Town Hall on October 19, 2021. He examined the challenges and opportunities for both countries as they confront the most critical issues of the 21st century.
George Stephanopoulos moderated a national webcast discussion on U.S.-China relations with experts Stephen Orlins, Melanie Hart, Yasheng Huang, and Ely Ratner as part of the 13th annual CHINA Town Hall, held at 80+ venues across the United States and China on November 18, 2019.
Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state and national security advisor, discussed issues in the U.S.-China relationship—from the escalating trade war to artificial intelligence—and her experiences with China throughout her career at the 12th annual CHINA Town Hall, held at 100+ venues across the United States and China on October 9, 2018.
Ambassador Susan E. Rice, former national security advisor and U.S. ambassador to the UN, addressed a range of critical issues in the U.S.-China relationship, from North Korea to the war on drugs, at the National Committee’s 11th annual CHINA Town Hall, held on October 24, 2017, in 80+ cities and towns across the United States.
2021 CHINA Town Hall: Fareed Zakaria
2020 CHINA Town Hall: Ray Dalio
2019 CHINA Town Hall: Melanie Hart, Yasheng Huang, and Ely Ratner
2018 CHINA Town Hall: Condoleezza Rice
2017 CHINA Town Hall: Susan Rice
2016 CHINA Town Hall: Henry Kissinger
2015 CHINA Town Hall: Robert Rubin, Sheldon Day, and Daniel Rosen
2014 CHINA Town Hall: Jimmy Carter
2013 CHINA Town Hall: Madeleine Albright
2012 CHINA Town Hall: Gary Locke
2011 CHINA Town Hall: Zbigniew Brzezinski
2010 CHINA Town Hall: Jon Huntsman
2009 CHINA Town Hall: Kurt Campbell
2008 CHINA Town Hall: Norman Ornstein
2007 CHINA Town Hall: Thomas Christensen